3 Students Revist Their Semester in Jerusalem

Doctoral students writing theses or at the end of their studies in biblical theology and exegesis, Nathalie, Fr. Stéphane and Fr. Martin lived and studied at the École Biblique from October 2016 to the end of January 2017. Residents of the School and users of our research library, they explain their approaches and the fruits of their stay.

Father Stéphane Blin, a priest from the Diocese of Nantes (France) for 10 years, is a 2nd year Masters student in Sacred Scripture at the Institut Catholique de Paris. He is working on “the meaning of the sword in the pericope of the prophecy of Simeon to Mary” (Luke 2:35).

  • Why did you come to the École biblique?

The prospect of being in Jerusalem, in the historic cradle of Judaism and Christianity, the idea of ​​being able to familiarize myself with the country and then later return with pilgrimages from my diocese, that was one of the reason that attracted me ; but also the fact of living with other biblicists and researchers, which I did not enjoy in Paris. I was happy to be able to immerse myself in this biblical framework.

  • What were you studying at the School?

I followed the course of topography and history of the ancient Near East with Fr. Dominique-Marie Cabaret OP, the Hebrew and Ancient Greek courses of Fr. Marc Leroy OP and Christophe Rico. I also took advantage of the courses of fr. Étienne Nodet OP on the primitive Church and its currents of the 1st century.

  • What did you appreciate most for your research?

The library is a valuable asset of the Ecole. I really benefited from having easy, permanent and optimal access. These are very favorable conditions for scientific, long-term work. The atmosphere is stimulating for work. It also served my relationship to the Bible, my openness to scripture, to frequent researchers in other fields. For example, Mathieu Beaud, who works as an art historian doctor for the project Bible In Its Traditions and who told me about my subject in the iconographic field.

Living in Jerusalem is also an opportunity to open up to the universality of the Church, with the local Churches. We also enjoy a particularly pleasant setting and a fraternal life that I loved.

Nathalie Derore-Martin, in the second year of her thesis at the Institut Catholique de Paris under the direction of Olivier Arthus, is doing a PhD in Holy Scripture. She works on “Identity issues and irony in chapters 3 and 4 of the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians”. She is also responsible for Catholic theological work and has 26 years as a professor of classical literature in priority education zones.

  • Why did you come to the École biblique?

I had already completed the 2nd semester in 2015, I wanted to come to finish my cycle, notably to take advantage of the course of topography but also for my thesis work. Originally I had heard about the École biblique from students of the Institut Catholique and I was encouraged by my thesis supervisor to go there. I had a real desire to be on the ground, in the footsteps of Saint Paul, to better realize the problems of the primitive Church here. I also came to develop my skills in ancient Greek at the Polis University in Jerusalem and with Christophe Rico (teacher of the School, ed), to better understand his method, being myself a teacher of biblical Greek in Paris.

  • What were you studying at the School?

I took the course of Fr. Étienne Nodet OP on the Primitive Churches, the course of Christophe Rico on the Greek in the 4th Gospel, the course of topography of Fr. Dominique-Marie Cabaret OP, the seminar Archeology and Bible animated by Rosemary Le Bohec, Fr. Lukasz Popko OP and Dominique-Marie Cabaret OP. I was also a student of Fr. Jorge Vargas OP in Biblical Hebrew and I took the courses of Greek II and Greek III. It was actually very intense. After this semester I realized that I may have had to restrict myself a little in my choices to have more time for my research … there are too many choices here!

  • What did you appreciate most for your research?

I really enjoyed the flexibility of access to the library, the proximity of the professors, the fruitful exchanges with visitors and students. There are always researchers whose subjects intersected with mine, both in the New Testament and especially on Saint Paul. It’s unique to have a table for yourself in a library provided like this. I also appreciated the good internal atmosphere that allows time for relaxation and sharing. It also gives courage to work.

Indirectly, the topography course brought me a lot for certain things: for my research I needed to understand the distances between the places, the tensions at the time, the duration of sailing for Saint Paul for example …

Father Martin Guyot has been a priest for more than two years, incardinated in the diocese of Versailles, he is a member of the Emmanuel community. He finished this year his canonical license in Sacred Scripture of the Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome (Biblicum), concluded by a semester in Jerusalem.

  • Why did you come to the Ecole biblique?

I wanted to pass through Jerusalem during my studies. The partnership with the Biblicum concerned the last semester of studies, which for various reasons suited me perfectly. I must also admit that after 2 years in Rome I was happy to be able to train again in French!

I was especially looking for the archaeological aspect of the Holy Land, being on the spot and being able to access the researchers, those who search and know the files here, rather than in a classroom in Rome … I wanted to take advantage of this systematic approach to the country over a long period, to be able to see the places alone, to show them to visiters. It was important for me.

  • What were you studying at the Ecole?

I was attending a course entitled “A Book of the Four”, a forerunner of the twelve little prophets, studies on Hosea, Amos, Micah and Zephaniah given by Fr. Marc Leroy OP, the course on the Book of Judges of fr. Martin Staszak OP, a course on Confession of Sins in the Old Testament given by Fr. Maurice Gilbert SJ, a course by Fr. Anthony Giambrone OP titled Luke-Acts in the Context of Greco-Roman Historiography, the course of topography and introduction to the history of the Near East of fr. Dominique-Marie Cabaret OP, a seminar on the archeology of Qumran given by Fr. Jean-Baptiste Humbert OP and finally the seminary of fr. Cabaret on the urbanism of Jerusalem.

  • What did you appreciate most for your research?

I took advantage of the library, of course. I have had courses that are sometimes more interesting than what I thought, but once again I really enjoyed being able to dialogue with researchers … to see people directly, in front of oneself, is an incomparable advantage. Some archaeologists are waiting to be asked complicated questions about their present, we live it through a real seminary so they accept to question their new theories, at our level it is a chance.

I also, of course, enjoyed the living environment. Being in the heart of Jerusalem, 5 minutes walk from the Holy Sepulcher but in a large garden, having the spiritual support of a Dominican convent and a group of students of various ages and horizons is appreciable , It’s really worth it !